Southeastern Legal Foundation filed a federal lawsuit against the State Department on behalf of its client, award-winning investigative journalist John Solomon, for records of communications between the U.S. State Department (including the U.S. Embassy in Kiev) and Hunter Biden, Devon Archer, Burisma Holdings, Rosemont Seneca Partners, and/or Blue Star Strategies. As Mr. Solomon has reported, U.S. banking records show that Hunter Biden’s American-based firm Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, received regular transfers into one of its accounts (more than $166k/month) from the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings that employed Hunter Biden. All of this occurred during a period when Vice President Biden was the main U.S. official dealing with Ukraine and its tense relationship with Russia.
Two years after leaving office, Joe Biden couldn’t resist the temptation to brag to an audience of foreign policy specialists about the time as vice president that he strong-armed Ukraine into firing its top prosecutor. His threat was so severe that Ukraine would have lost $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees sending Ukraine toward insolvency. So the question is – why? Why did Joe Biden demand the immediate firing of Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin? And what did the State Department know about Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine and Ukraine’s investigations into those business dealings?
In his FOIA Requests, Mr. Solomon simply seeks to answer those questions. “Mr. Solomon’s questions, stemming from years-long investigative journalism, are powerful and legitimate inquiries into what the American public has a right to know about how and why Vice President Biden and the Obama administration conducted foreign policy in the last week of its tenure,” said Todd Young, SLF executive director. “The well-documented series of events involving Ukraine begs for public disclosure.”
As a result oe the lawsuit, the State Department has released memos show that “Hunter Biden and his Ukrainian gas firm colleagues had multiple contacts with the Obama State Department during the 2016 election cycle, including one just a month before Vice President Joe Biden forced Ukraine to fire the prosecutor investigating his son’s company for corruption.” They also reveal a host of critical pieces of information in the Ukraine-Burisma-Biden saga, betraying parts of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s congressional testimony about her familiarity with Burisma and the former Vice President’s son, Hunter. As Mr. Solomon explains, “The memos . . . add new significance to a long-running Senate investigation into the Bidens’ activities and perceived conflicts of interest in Ukraine.”
Those contacts include scheduled meetings between Devon Archer and Secretary of State John Kerry, between a U.S. representative for Burisma Holdings and Undersecretary of State Catherine A. Novelli, and between Hunter Biden and his father’s longtime trusted aide and then-Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken. While these records are a start, many questions still remain. The FOIA lawsuit is ongoing and SLF expects State officials to produce additional records in the months ahead.
Following the State Department’s first release of documents to John Solomon and Southeastern Legal Foundation,Senate Finance Committee Chairman Senators Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) asked the State Department to provide them all documents about Hunter Biden’s and Burisma’s contacts by the end of this month.
The records obtained by SLF were withheld from Senate investigators who first learned of their existence from SLF and Mr. Solomon’s FOIA lawsuit. As Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson said in an interview with John Solomon Reports podcast: “We have been so frustrated in our attempt to get the documentation that we need before we can sit down and interview people, and as I understand it, the documents you just obtained in your FOIA request we haven’t received unbelievably.”
The impact of our lawsuits was made clear in the recently released Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Senate Committee on Finance report: “Hunter Biden, Burisma, and Corruption: The Impact on U.S. Government Policy and Related Concerns.” The Report expressly credited the FOIA lawsuit SLF brought on behalf of Solomon as bringing “fresh public attention and scrutiny to potential conflicts of interest with respect to Ukraine policy in the Obama administration.” It went on to highlight numerous records that we obtained through the lawsuit and that Solomon reported on (and that were subsequently covered by other national news sources). And just days after the Senate released its report, the State Department released additional never before seen email communications showing that Burisma made not one, but two bribes to Ukrainian officials. SLF continues to pursue these records.